Information for Investigators

What is Accelerator Stewardship?

The mission of the long-term accelerator R&D stewardship program is to support fundamental accelerator science and technology development of relevance to many fields beyond High Energy Physics, and to disseminate accelerator knowledge and training to the broad community of accelerator users and providers.

Central goals of Accelerator R&D Stewardship are to:

  • Engage the expertise and facilities of the U.S. accelerator R&D ecosystem in a manner that enhances the ability of the DOE Office of Science specifically, and other federal agencies generally, to conduct their missions;
  • Enhance the accelerator technology capabilities of U.S. industry;
  • Drive a limited number of specific accelerator applications towards practical, testable prototypes in a 5-7 year timeframe;
  • Foster collaboration between developers of accelerator technology and experts who apply accelerator technology;
  • Provide the basic R&D foundation necessary for sustained innovation across a broad range of accelerator applications.

Accelerator Stewardship is divided into two distinct activities: (1) applied R&D that is focused on developing a prototype in response to a specific technical challenge, and (2) basic research that broadly impacts many accelerator applications.


Merit Criteria for Accelerator R&D Stewardship Activities

Accelerator R&D Stewardship activity is aimed at accelerator applications which have broad impact beyond High Energy Physics (HEP) and which simultaneously have some synergy with the HEP mission.

The activity’s impact can be of value to any of the following accelerator technology stakeholders:

  • other Offices of Science (e.g. Basic Energy Science, Nuclear Physics, and so on),
  • other DOE Agencies and Program Offices (e.g. NNSA, ARPA-E, EERE, and so on),
  • other federal agencies (e.g. NIH, NSF, DoD, and so on),
  • or to industries that use accelerator technology.

Synergy with the HEP mission means that the activity (but not necessarily the outcome) should positively impact the HEP mission. This can occur either by strengthening skills, or by enhancing facilities needed for the mission. Note that this is more restrictive than the requirements for Work for Others, which are documented in DOE O 481.1C.

In addition to the standard 10CFR605.10(b) merit criteria, Accelerator R&D Stewardship activities will be evaluated by five additional merit criteria:

  • The activity must involve R&D on accelerators or accelerator-related technology for a non-HEP application. Accelerator-related technologies include: normal and superconducting magnets and RF cavities, RF and magnet power systems, specialized laser systems, specialized diagnostics and controls.
  • There must be non-trivial intellectual involvement of the institution. There must, at a minimum, be a substantial opportunity for the Stewardship institution to contribute to, and learn from, the activity. Providing services in a manner that simply maintains existing staff or facilities may qualify as Work for Others, but it is not considered Accelerator R&D Stewardship.
  • The activity must be reasonably consistent with the mission of the institution and minimally impact its primary Office of Science program(s). At a minimum, the activity should help strengthen core competences and facilities needed for the mission. Ideally, the activity would lead to the development of new core competencies and facilities that enhance the mission.
  • The institution must arguably be the best provider of the capability or service (and not compete with an existing business). This criterion may include both technical considerations (e.g. leading institution in this scientific area) and business considerations (e.g. physical proximity). 
  • The stakeholder benefitting from the stewardship activity must endorse the goals. At a minimum, this means the customer has contributed to formulating the R&D (e.g. by co-authoring a proposal). Strong evidence of stakeholder endorsement includes: programmatic endorsement and co-funding (if the stakeholder is another Office of Science or other federal agency) or cost-sharing (if the stakeholder is industry).

Accelerator R&D Stewardship activity proposals are expected to document participation of both technology experts and stakeholders in the activity, and to have defined a plan that leads to successful development of the stewardship application.


How You Can Engage

Accelerator R&D Stewardship is an opportunity to explore the broader applications of accelerator technology beyond High Energy Physics. Key to the success of this program will be the strong involvement of the stakeholder (or end user) in the formulation and execution of Stewardship activities.

You can engage with the Accelerator R&D Stewardship program by:

  • Becoming Informed

    • Read the stewardship program description and workshop reports.
    • Prepare for topical area calls by starting to gather ideas and thinking about potential Stewardship activities. Read the Stewardship merit criteria. Be aware of related calls such as the DOE SBIR/STTR solicitation, which has calls for some of the subsystem technologies.
  • Responding to calls for proposals
    • Look for Funding Opportunity Announcements and Laboratory Program Announcements.
  • Helping to identify new Stewardship topical areas
    • Propose new Stewardship topic areas. These should be “customer driven” and result in a potential solution that is broadly useful within a time frame of ≤ 10 years.  This can be done by e-mailing your suggestions to Eric Colby (
    • Respond to Requests for Information (RFIs) as they come out in the Federal Register.

Program contact:

Eric Colby, Ph.D.